High above Oslo, the mystic fog and cool temperatures greeted the world’s best transition riders at the legendary Holmenkollm stadium. The 125-year-old ski jumping stadium was home to The Oakley Arctic Challenge in 2001, and after a brief separation the two reunite for 2008. It seems fitting since it was at this venue in 2001 that Heikki Sorsa, a then unknown Finnish rider catapulted himself to legend status with a world record 29.6 foot air. Terje Haakonsen beat Heikki’s record in 2007, and with Arctic returning to Holmenkollm, the expectations of another world record performance are undeniable.
The unique format for 2008 has seen the addition of a nighttime expression session event, which awards riders’ prize money for each discipline including straight airs, flat rotations, and inverted maneuvers with the main focus being on style. This expression session takes place on Thursday night and will be followed up with the main event on Saturday February 23rd. Although style is always a huge component of the main event, Saturday is really geared around breaking the elusive 10-meter air. It was in 2001 that Oakley offered up a Gold Timebomb watch for the first person to hit 10 meters, and this watch valued at 30k USD is still begging to be claimed.
It seems that this may be the year that the Gold Timebomb will grace the wrist of one Arctic’s talented competitors. Early practice again belonged to the young rippers from Europe, clearly out to prove they deserve a chance. The session progressed and the top riders began to shine. Kevin Pearce, Scotty Lago, and Shayne Pospisil put on a solid performance all spinning 4 to 5 meter airs. Snowboarding’s technical master and rookie to The Oakley Arctic Challenge, Chad Otterstrom, was smooth with his switch backside 720’s. Terje and Nicolas Muller looked like teacher and student with smooth and stylish maneuvers.
Qualifying & the nighttime contest begin tomorrow, so tune in to Oakley.com to catch Freecaster’s live webcast, as well as new video clips, photos and stories.